Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stepchild in Transition

I hate changing. My stomach always squeezes into knots a couple hours before the switch. It doesn't matter if it is switching from mother to father or the other way. It's always bad. I hate it. I hate seeing them together, all pretending not to hate each other. Liars. I hate the McDonald's we make the switch at, I hate that they divorced. I hate that they couldn't pull it together.

Everytime we make the switch I have to smash the hope that wants to show up. Of course I still want them to get back together, but I know they never will. They can't. Dad's married that awful woman, Jenny, and mom's dating Creepy Jim. Yeah, but no one asks me my opinion - not for real anyway. It's not like I get a vote. I never get a vote.

Oh no, I never tell them how I feel. What good would it do? I just smile and pretend to be happy. It's not hard to fake them out. They're so hard up for me to be happy they'll settle for a fake smile and never really ask me how I'm doing. I don't like being fake, but what choice do I have. It's be fake and have a sense of peace or tell it like it is and be a problem. Seriously, would you do anything different?

Certainly the above monologue is not representative of every stepchild when contemplating the parent's divorce and remarriage and the switching of time with one parent to time with the other, but it would represent many feelings of many stepchildren.

Anger, powerlessness, trapped, needing to please - stepchildren have a lot to deal with on a regular basis.

What is important for parents and stepparents to keep in mind is not a heap of guilt. Instead, they should have a persistent sensitivity to their children's and stepchildren's needs. The kids need space be mad, express their feelings, and have lots of ups and downs. Suppressing the kid's feelings will only incite rebellion of make liars of them.

Yes, it's emotionally intensive work, but it's wort it.


Shannon said...

This could be written by my 16yo stepdaughter, but her dad and I live 12 hours away. The anger and depression is still there, though. I wish there was something I could do, but she doesn't want to have a relationship with her dad, much less with me.

Karen said...

I struggle with this as my Husband returns the three kids to their Mom every other week. I struggle to find the words to help him as he tells me it feels as though his heart is being ripped out every time they leave. After over 1.5 years its not getting any easier. Somehow with the kids I find the right words to help them leave with peace in their hearts and minds, but my poor husband I cannot help. Its almost as though the pain is as much about the betrayal he felt when his wife abandoned their family for another man, as for his missing the kids.

Anonymous said...

wow!!! Thanku for your wake up call that children would find at times being in a blended family as hard as us sometimes. We ofetrn get can't in the trap bout how hard it is for parents... but your spot on what about the children!!

Thanku once again for your reshfesing post.

Anonymous said...

it is even harder when they make allegations against you and get the police involved.